The FIA and representatives from its national sporting authorities (ASNs) and national automobile clubs (ACNs) across the Asia-Pacific region assembled in Bangkok this week (20-22 March) for the fifth edition of the FIA Sport Regional Congress held in the zone.
The Congress, hosted by the Royal Automobile Association of Thailand (RAAT), was led by FIA President Jean Todt, FIA Deputy President for Sport Graham Stoker, FIA Vice President for Asia-Pacific Heping Wan and RAAT President Dr. Somporn Suebthawilkul.
“The Asia-Pacific region is one of the strongest and most well-developed motor sport communities in the world. At the fifth edition of the FIA Sport Regional Congress for this zone we have been able to consider the factors that contribute to its success and how we can ensure its continued good health,” said President Todt.
“I would like to thank and congratulate Dr. Somporn Suebthawilkul for a magnificent Congress, and his team for their excellent organisation. We have all benefited from this deeper insight into Thailand’s motor sport culture, and enjoyed the warm hospitality extended to the ASN and ACN delegations from across the region.”
The Congress programme included sessions on event management, grassroots disciplines such as gymkhana, karting and e-Karting, esport development and safety and risk management, all organised under the leadership of the FIA’s ASN Development Task Force chaired by Andrew Papadopoulos.
Todt continued: ”A glance at the International Sporting calendar shows that motor sport in the Asia-Pacific region is strong, with 22 events registered on the FIA International Calendar, and 76 international series events and 6 FIA Karting events registered on the CIK Sporting Calendar. We count 5 World Championships in the region: 4 Formula One events, in Australia, China, Singapore and Japan, and a new race next year in Vietnam, and 1 World Rally Championship event in Australia. Other major activities include 2 FIA Formula E Championship events, in Hong Kong and in Sanya, China this weekend, 4 World Touring Car Cup events in China, Japan, Macau and now Malaysia, and the FIA GT World Cup in Macau.
“In Single-Seater we also have 4 F4 championships, F3 Asia Certified by FIA, and we look forward to continuing the tradition of the FIA F3 World Cup in Macau this November. Karting is the start of our pyramid and the ASNs of China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and New Zealand have registered a driver to represent their country in the 2019 FIA Karting Academy Trophy.
“Rally has enjoyed major success in Australia, and in 2018, as part of our overhaul of the Regional Rally Championships, the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship was our starting point.
“The Asia-Pacific region has very positive momentum, however there is always more we must do to ensure we not only keep pace, but continue to lead. We rely on the determination and enthusiasm of the ASNs and ACNs to ensure the vitality of motor sport in the region.”
In closing, President Todt said: “This excellent Congress has highlighted the spirit of unity between the sport clubs, and I look forward to seeing the strong progress that can be made over the course of the next twelve months.”